When Lindsay and Connor Juergensen, who farm northeast of Churdan, were deciding where to deliver their first baby – they said the choice was clear: The Birth Place at St. Anthony Regional Hospital in Carroll was where they wanted to be.
Although Lindsay worked in Ames, finding a doctor there never really crossed their minds. The couple knew they wanted a doctor and hospital close to their home, who they could both get to quickly day or night if needed during the pregnancy and afterwards when they had a family.
“Getting the best quality of care close to home is something that is very important to us,” said Lindsay. “The short drive to Carroll is no problem for us, and we knew it would be convenient for much of our family too.”
Some may not consider a 30-minute drive to deliver a baby as close, but the Juergensens did. They both grew up on Iowa farms – Connor in Churdan, and Lindsay in Pella – so were not at all concerned about the distance to Carroll. In fact, they even joked about Iowa winters and having the baby during a snowstorm.
In addition, they were happy to discover their new physician, Samuel Dvorak, M.D., of McFarland Clinic in Carroll, delivers babies at St. Anthony Hospital.
For the young couple, the last, and perhaps most important thing about St. Anthony, was peace of mind.
“We knew that if something were to go wrong, St. Anthony had the ability to take care of us,” said Lindsay. “If our baby had been premature and needed intensive care, they had a plan for that. If I had needed a c-section, they could handle it. We saw the operating room and were comfortable with the facility and the staff. It was very reassuring to know that they had thought of all scenarios and were prepared to care for us.”
Thankfully, the snowstorm held off and the Juergensens welcomed healthy little Emma to their family at The Birth Place at St. Anthony on January 6, 2019. Lindsay and Connor were thrilled.
“She was perfect – healthy and beautiful!” said Lindsay, who is loving every minute of being a mom. “And our experience at The Birth Place exceeded our expectations – the care was amazing. Lisa, my labor and delivery nurse, never left my side. She was there until the very end. She made Connor feel comfortable throughout labor and delivery, and helped coach and care for me. All the nurses were excellent. They were knowledgeable and very helpful. The entire experience was phenomenal.”
Like many young couples, the Juergensens are busy adapting to their new life – juggling parenthood with their careers. Emma is four-months old now.
“Connor and I are a great team. But Emma makes it easy; she is such a good baby – she is very content and on a schedule,” said Lindsay.
Connor farms corn and soybeans with his brother and a neighbor, and raises hogs and cattle. Lindsay, who worked full-time at McFarland Clinic as an LPN in Ames prior to having Emma, has transitioned to the Jefferson Clinic as office manager. She is also pursuing a business degree online through DMACC.
Although they have had many changes since Emma joined their family, the couple says their health care choices will remain the same – Dr. Dvorak, their family doctor, and St. Anthony, their hospital.
As the healthcare landscape continues to shift in Iowa and across the nation, many rural and community hospitals are finding it increasingly challenging to continue providing obstetrics care. In fact, studies show that the number of hospitals that provide maternity services in Iowa decreased by 50 percent in the past 50 years – leaving mothers-to-be with fewer options and longer driving distances.
In 2018, this disheartening trend continued in Iowa, with at least seven obstetric program closures. However, St. Anthony Regional Hospital is committed to continuing to serve the region and providing the highest quality obstetric care to patients and families in west central Iowa. St. Anthony proudly serves approximately 400 families each year at The Birth Place, which offers eight labor and delivery rooms and cesarean suite. The physicians, nurses and support staff at St. Anthony will continue to be there for residents of our region, providing essential obstetrics services and delivering babies for many years to come.